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China Almost Bans the Web !

China has a history of a love-hate relationship with technology. What is normal computer usage around the world is invariably some kind of a crime in China, so every month has its share of odd and outrageous happenings. This month’s China related roundup includes a massive crackdown on porn, a crackdown on cybersex, and the Chinese government recognizing web surfing as a “clinical illness”. Read on.

China has some of the toughest internet laws in the world. However, despite all the fine print, they manage to leave out one activity from the rulebooks. A housewife by the name of Li, decided to have a little fun and teased people online by showing them video streams of herself in the nude. She was dragged into court because of her activities, but was let free when the judge discovered that there was nothing in the law they could actually prosecute her with.

Baidu and Google, the two biggest search engines in China (surprisingly, in that order) had to apologise to the government for showing too many links to porn sites on their online portals. The government had specifically asked them to remove all porn related content from their web sites, but the search engines failed to remove them. The government retaliated aggressively, threatening to punish and shut down these web sites. What followed was a string of public apologies. The Chinese government is going right ahead with plans to purify not just the internet, but the mobile networks as well.

While sending explicit images and text over mobile networks is already an offense, what the Chinese government is looking to do now is to implement a mechanism by which they can actually catch the offenders. How exactly they will achieve this is not clear.

A hospital in Beijing probed 1,300 cases of people too addicted to the Internet (those who need medication if they do not go online), and decided to define too much web surfing as a clinical psychological disease.

What is really scary however, are the kind of treatments those with this disease can expect to undergo. The Internet addicted can expect treatments like military style discipline, counseling, hypnosis and electric shocks.